When it comes to being stylish over 50 there is a dress with sleeves to suit just about every occasion, every bodyshape, and every budget. The good news is that retailers seem to be finally listening to what women over 50 want to wear- and at last there is more choice on the High Street.
There are some key points to consider though when choosing the right dress for you.
In this first of this series of articles we look at some of the key points to consider in choosing the best dress with sleeves for you – looking at how the dress is constructed from a cut and shape perspective.
The Cut of the Sleeves – some of the clothing manufacturers are still cutting their sleeves to be quite narrow- if your upper arms are not quite as slim as previously, make sure the sleeves are more generously cut for the upper arm. Look at sleeve length – 3/4 length sleeves are incredibly flattering if you have slim wrists or like to wear bracelets or bangles. The other plus point for 3/4 length sleeves is that the sleeve tends to end level with your waistline, drawing the eye in and giving the illusion of a better defined waist.
How are the sleeves set? A raglan sleeve is great for women with broader shoulders , but can make women with narrow shoulders look more bottom heavy- and less polished – better in this instance to go for a more tailored look – Style tip: wear shoulder pads to create more balanced proportions.
Dart Placement Even if we are lucky enough to wear the same size clothing in our 50s and 60s as we did in our 20s and 30s, chances are our body shape has changed. When trying on dresses check the dart placement across the bust – is it placed too high – or does it hit in just the right place? Again look at darts placed down the body – do they have the right starting and finishing point for your bodyshape? We can all use a little extra help, pop along to a bra fitting service- a good fitting bra can work wonders – especially if you have been wearing the wrong size. Breasts are lifted, your torso looks leaner, body longer and posture improved – all helping to make that dress with sleeves fit and flatter!
Scooped necks and V’s are incredibly flattering for elongating the neck. If you are bigbusted a high neck can make your bust look larger. Style tip: If you are big busted and wear high necks- wear a chunky necklace which sits above the bustline. It will draw the eye up towards the face away from the bust and create the illusion of a ‘V’ or a scoop neckline.
Whatever you wear, you should be looking to create symmetry and look in proportion – so the cut of the dress and the way the fabric falls should be taken into account when choosing a dress with sleeves.
- A-line cuts which skim the hips in a slightly sturdier fabric are great for pear shapes.
- Empire lines or drop waists help to create the illusion of a longer body for those who are a little thicker around the middle.
- Fitted dresses look great on women with hour glass figures – show off those curves! Wrap, or faux wrap dresses with sleeves work wonders!
Again, it’s all about choosing a dress length that makes you look in proportion – if you’re petite you really don’t want to wear a dress that totally swamps you. If you are buying online. check to see if retailer indicates the height of the fit model. You might look at the image and decide that the dress is too short for you, but if the model is 5ft 9ins and you’re 5 ft 5/ 5ft 6 then it could be perfect for you. Depending on the cut and the height of the heel you plan to be wearing, on the knee or 2 ins above or below usually works well.
In the next of the series we will be talking about choosing dresses with sleeves for specific occasions.
By Ronen Chen from Gray and Osbourn
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